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Collection highlights

Press Materials 2017

November 24, 2017 – April 1, 2018, Kumu Art Museum 
Andres Tolts (1949–2014) was one of the greatest radicals and conservatives of Estonian art. He was an artist and a designer who was interested in everyday reality as well as in the ability of art to organise that reality. Tolts treated everyday materials with aristocratic elegance, and searched for visual paradoxes in the surrounding environment.

Curator: Anu Allas

9 October is the opening day of a major Konrad Mägi exhibition at the prestigious Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Rome to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia and the Estonian presidency of the European Union. This will be the largest ever exhibition of Konrad Mägi’s oeuvre outside of Estonia; the display will include nearly 50 of his finest landscape paintings.
The paintings will give foreign visitors an overview of all of Mägi’s significant creative periods, from 1908 to 1925, primarily showing Mägi as an artist who sensed nature as a metaphysical and sacred space.

Exhibition curator: Eero Epner

September 22, 2017 - January 14, 2018, Kumu Art Museum 
The exhibition The Savages of Germany. Die Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter Expressionists offers the audience a unique chance to view the most outstanding works of art of two pivotal art groups of the early 20th century. Through the oeuvre of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, Vassily Kandinsky, August Macke, Franz Marc, Alexej von Jawlensky and others, the exhibition focusses on the innovations introduced to the art scene by expressionists. Expressionists dedicated themselves to the study of major universal themes, such as the relationship between man and the universe, via various deeply personal artistic means.
Die Brücke (“The Bridge” in English) was a German artistic group founded in 1905 in Dresden. The artists of Die Brücke abandoned visual impressions and idyllic subject matter (typical of impressionism), wishing to describe the human inner world, full of controversies, fears and hopes. Colours in their paintings tend to be contrastive and intense, the shapes deformed, and the details enlarged. Besides the various scenes of city life, another common theme in Die Brücke’s oeuvre was scenery: when travelling through the countryside, the artists saw an opportunity to depict man’s emotional states through nature. The group disbanded in 1913.
Der Blaue Reiter (“The Blue Rider” in English) was another expressionist group and was active in the years 1911–1914. It centred around Russian emigrants (Vassily Kandinsky, Alexej von Jawlensky and others) and local German artists (Franz Marc, August Macke and others). The members were united in their desire to express topics related to the universe, the soul and the world of spirits. Strong colours were important in their work, and each colour was assigned a certain spiritual or symbolist association. The works of both of the groups earned acclaim in Europe and their members are considered the most outstanding representatives of expressionism, one of the most significant artistic movements ever.
In addition to showing the works of the main authors of German expressionism, the exhibition attempts to shed light on expressionism as an influential artistic movement of the early 20th century which left its imprint on the Estonian art of the post-World War I era. Ado Vabbe, Peet Aren, Nikolai Triik, Konrad Mägi and others experienced the German art scene directly during their studies and travels, but also via expressionist influences in modern literature, drama and elsewhere. The context of the exhibition allows the viewer to experience multi-layered developments in expressionism via original works of art by Estonian artists, enriching their understanding of expressionism as a dynamic, versatile and vital phenomenon covering a large geographical area.
The exhibition has been made possible thanks to collaboration with a number of German art museums and galleries. The expressionist works of art by Estonian authors come from the collections of the Art Museum of Estonia, Tartu Art Museum and a private collection.

Exhibition curators: Detmar Westhoff and Eva Knels (Westhoff Fine Arts), Liis Pählapuu (Art Museum of Estonia)

September 9, 2017 - Februari 25, 2018, Kumu Art Museum 
“Do you remember the thing we saw, my soul, that summer morning, so beautiful, so soft: at a turning in the path, a filthy carrion, on a bed sown with stones” (Ch. Baudelaire trans. Jack Collings Squire).
Through the ages, along with everything beautiful, artists and writers have been captivated by ugliness and depravity. The darker side of life fascinated the legendary poet Charles Baudelaire. His morbid, but elegant world of thoughts and feelings inspired Estonian artists in the early 20th century.

Exhibition curator: Lola-Annabel Kass

August 25, 2017 - January 28, 2018, Kumu Art Museum 
The viewer is presented with kinds of travel and migration from the past and present of Eastern Europe, which are supplemented by the travel mythologies of Estonian artists. Part of this witty project, which plays with memories, was exhibited at the 2015 Venice Biennale.

Exhibition curator: Magdalena Moskalewicz

July 7 - November 12, 2017, Kumu Art Museum 
Chronicles of Art Life shows only a tiny share of what was going on in the Estonian art and cultural life in the second half of the 20th century. The display could be supplemented by hundreds, if not even thousands, of photographs that are just as characteristic and evocative of their era. On the other hand, there were also numerous events that were never recorded; these can, in part, be reconstructed via other means, or they will eventually be completely forgotten. This illustrates wonderfully how much our understanding of art history, its key moments and main characters, has been shaped by those who were – or were not – present with their cameras at hand.
Photographers: Arvo Iho, Annika Jönsson, Jaan Klysheiko, Konstantin Kuzmin, Elmar Köster, Gunnar Loss, Rein Maran, Ilmar Prooso, Artur Rätsep, Jaan Rõõmus, Matti Saanio, Andrei Solovyov, Kalju Suur, Paul Talvre, Jüri Tenson, Tõnu Tormis, Valdur Vahi, Rein Välme, and others.

Exhibition curator: Anu Allas

June 2, 2017 - January 7, 2018, Kumu Art Museum 
The oeuvre of Mare Vint is rooted in the art of the late 1960s. Her drawings and graphic art depict combinations of natural motifs and architectural elements, park landscapes and garden views in a search for repetitions and regularities in the images. The pictures create a separate visual world, generalise and interpret mundane imagery, and express the permanent structures within and behind chaotic daily reality.
Jaanus Samma, who started his career as an artist in the second half of the 2000s, uses themes and strategies in his oeuvre which, at first glance, seem to be diametrically opposed to Mare Vint’s works. Samma’s best-known project is NSFW. A Chairman’s Tale, which represented Estonia at the Venice Biennale in 2015 and tells the dramatic story of a legendary homosexual collective farm leader, showing a completely different cultural layer of the Soviet Estonia in comparison to Vint’s ideal landscapes. On closer inspection, however, the oeuvres of the two authors contain similar elements and issues. Both base their creation in daily life, but approach it in ways that give shape to new realities. Vint does that by ordering and purging everyday motifs, and Samma by both distorting and elevating the mundane.
Vint and Samma’s first joint exhibition, Mare Vint. PARK. Jaanus Samma took place in 2010 at the Tam Gallery in Tallinn. At the Kumu exhibition, Jaanus Samma’s installation of a photo and two classical sculptures reflects and comments on Mare Vint’s oeuvre.

Exhibition curator: Anu Allas

April 21 - May 21, 2017, Kumu Art Museum 
The starting point of the exhibition Alone/Together is the eternal question of how to fit into a group while maintaining one’s individuality. This question – clearly topical in the context of present-day nation-states – is also central in art and creative work in general. How to stay true to and believe in your own ideas while being a useful member of society and understood by as many people as possible?
This exhibition has been put together in cooperation with the Kumu Youth Club, the members of which participated in the international joint project Translocal: Museum as Toolbox. One part of the project was the Italian artist Luigi Coppola’s residency at Kumu in April 2016, which resulted in the photo series The Society House #Estonia displayed at the exhibition. Coppola was mostly interested in the extent to which the current youth of our relatively young state relate to such concepts as nationality, identity and territory. In other words, how do they view themselves as individuals and at the same time as members of a (national) community. In addition to the joint work of art made with Coppola, the youth club has been working with the collections of the Art Museum of Estonia since autumn 2016, discussing the artworks and their meanings from the viewpoint of community and identity.
The discussions led to the emergence of opposites, such as community and individual, unity and dissociation, which are often viewed as separate but which, in fact, exist in society and art as gradations and indistinguishable buffer zones. While preparing the display, the youth club decided to look at the opposites as manifestations of a variety of perspectives and ways of thinking, which should lead to a new well-considered viewpoint that recognises the differences. The title of the exhibition – Alone/Together – refers to the collective curating experience, which formed a new whole out of the members’ personal relations to art and the exhibition. The heading also alludes to the youngsters’ general experience gained in the Translocal project: as one of the five partner institutions it was necessary to always take into account the other partners, but also to clearly formulate one’s own position.

Exhibition curator: Kumu Youth Club (Anna Borissova, Helen Birnbaum, Lauren Grinberg, Arina Jegorova, Agneta Kardaš, Loora Kaubi, Mihkel Kosk, Saskia Künnap, Antero Kevin Leedu, Sofja Melikova, Mirjam Mikk, Ramona Mägi, Iris Ojavee, Mirjam Orav, Olivia Raudsik, Gert Avar Reinumägi, Andreas Rohesalu, Mark Sagar, Simona Stenberg, Ingrid Tamm, Emel-Elizabeth Tuulik, Katre Vahter, Erik Heiki Veelmaa)
Artists: Siim-Tanel Annus, Tanja Muravskaja, Luigi Coppola, Marcin Polak, MTÜ Lasnaidee (Maria Derlõš ja Jekaterina Kljutšnik), Oaza (Maja Kolar ja Maša Poljanec), Aldo Giannotti

April 7 - August 27, 2017, Kumu Art Museum 
Known mostly as an accomplished architect, Jüri Okas is a member of the 1970s generation of avant-garde artists. His detached attitude toward the official art of the day introduced minimalism, land art and neo-conceptualism into Estonian art instead of the depiction of reality.

Exhibition curators: Sirje Helme and Ragne Soosalu

March 17 - August 6, 2017, Kumu Art Museum 
Anu Põder is one of the most original Estonian sculptors of the 20th century. Her works are particularly striking due to her artistic ability to express the mental and physical experiences of daily life in vivid sculptural forms. Anu Põder’s work has mostly been exhibited with her Estonian contemporaries – significantly, this retrospective offers the chance to look at her work within the context of the rich international tradition of depicting the female experience of the 20th century.
In addition to works by Anu Põder, ranging early drawings from the 1970s to sculptures made in 2012 the year before her death, the exhibition also features Siluetta Works in Mexico, a video piece and photo series by the Cuban-born artist Ana Mendieta, who is known for contemplating female bodily experiences in nature and violence in society. One of the latest installations by Polish artist Alina Szapocznikow, Tumours Personified, deals with the temporality of human life. A spatial installation by young Polish artist Iza Tarasewicz takes the known miracle cure of reishi mushrooms as its material. While Katrin Koskaru has made a new series of paintings, focusing on the perception of wars from the hindsight of the present moment. A huge installation of abstract works by Austrian-born artist Ursula Mayer weaves personal and political life into a single whole.

Exhibition curator: Rebeka Põldsam

March 3 - June 11, 2017, Kumu Art Museum 
The exhibition examines the thinking and creative dialogue of the unofficial artists in Tallinn and Moscow during the Soviet period. The significant common denominator of the four renowned artists is the synthesising of art and science in their works.

Exhibition curators: Anna Romanova and Eha Komissarov

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